Mark Sanford, the former South Carolina governor who famously vanished four years ago to spend some quality time with his Argentine mistress, is one step closer to holding public office again.
On Tuesday, the 52-year-old Republican beat out a former Charleston County council member to claim the GOP nomination for a U.S. House of Representatives seat he previously held from 1995-2001.
"It's been a very long journey. And in that journey I am humbled to find ourselves where we find ourselves tonight," Sanford said after his win was announced.
"I want to thank my God," Sanford said. "I used to cringe when somebody would say, `I want to thank my God' because at that point I would think this is getting uncomfortable. But once you really receive God's grace and (have) seen it reflected in others you stop and acknowledge that grace and the difference He has made in my life and in so many lives across this state and across this nation."
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Sanford will now square off against the Democrat nominee for the same house seat, Elizabeth Colbert Busch – sister of comedian Stephen Colbert.
Colbert Busch released a statement late Tuesday saying "I look forward to a vigorous campaign that focuses on creating jobs, balancing our country's budget and choosing an independent-minded leader who shares the values of the great people of South Carolina."
South Carolina’s 1st District House seat became vacant when Tea Party hero Sen. Jim DeMint resigned to head up The Heritage Foundation and was replaced by Tim Scott.
The woman with whom Sanford disappeared a few years back, Maria Belen Chapur, is now his fiancée. She appeared next to him onTuesday night as he made his nomination acceptance speech.